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Monday, December 16, 2013

Sometimes desperation calls for innovative thinking

I’ve been working on Christmas gifts – homemade this year since money is in short supply.  When that happens, you have to use your head.  Think about what you’ve got around the house.  So I got creative. 

I made my mom a family calendar using family pictures I’ve been collecting from any of the relatives that would send them to me.  Plus I took quite a few new ones when I was in Texas to visit the end of September.

This is the calendar front

I have some experience with Photoshop, so I put the pictures in there, cropped, resized, etc, and put them on the pages in collages for each month.  I took a sunset picture from here in the desert to use for the front of the calendar and put a collage on that too.  Once I had all those pages made, I used a desert sunset for the back page and resized each collage to fit on there to make a summary of the calendar.

This is the calendar back

In Word, I used the tables feature to make a calendar template.  I looked up all the dates for next year on the internet, along with the holidays for next year.  Then I added family birthdays to the calendar and made up pages for each month.

Inside Calendar page using tables in Word
Once that was finished it was a matter of printing it on back-to-back pages to make a flip calendar.  The only photo paper I had was only appropriate for one-side printing, so I used a white card stock I had in the house from a different project.  The pictures aren’t as sharp as they could be, but it’s still okay and actually looks better than I expected.

This is both flip calendars

 In fact, I ended up making one for one of my friends too, but I used nature pictures and landscapes that I’ve taken around the desert where I live.

Yesterday I used my binding machine to put both calendars together.  Once that was done, I measured for the holes for hanging and punched those in each page.

Finished Calendars

With the calendars ready, I started on the ornaments for my sisters.  Four of us exchange Christmas ornaments every year.  We’ve been doing this for the last twenty years.  I had to put the thinking cap on again because my car is out of gas and I won’t have any money for a while, so going out was out of the question.  I decided to use pictures again, hoping the ink in my printer would hold out after the two calendars.  After all, how much would an ornament take?  I decided not to chance it, so I put all the pics I wanted to use onto one page once I had them cropped and resized.  Then I printed them on photo paper and cut them out.

The next step was what to use for the background.  I had some card stock, but nothing red and the green wasn’t a Christmas green.  In addition, I didn’t think this was heavy enough, and then I remembered that I still had quite a bit of mat material in the garage.  I found the perfect green out there.  I think I told you guys that I’ve dabbled in many things over the years.  I was glad I still had this lying around.  I have a mat cutter, but I couldn’t find my blades for it, so I had to use a ruler and a box knife.  That wasn’t perfect and I had to clean it up, which took a bit of time.  I ended up cutting out two frames for each ornament.

Once all that was ready, I glued the frames together back-to-back inserting red ribbon between the two frames for hanging, and then glued the pictures in the center.  This was a messy job because the glue stick I was going to use was too old, clumpy, and about dried up, so I had to use Elmer’s and be extremely careful.  When that was dry, I dug around in my sewing supplies and found some red rickrack, so I glued that around each picture.  Then I set heavy books on them and let them sit overnight.

The ornaments in progress

Today they were set up and looked very nice, but they need something extra.  Going back to my craft room, I found a bag of sparkly silver pipe cleaners.  Perfect.  So I dug out my hot glue gun only to find that the battery won’t hold a charge.  Oh boy, now what?  This is where desperate measures come into play again.  I started wondering how I could melt that glue without the glue gun because Elmer’s wasn’t going to work for this job.  Then it hit me.  I got a lighter and a glue stick and little by little, I heated the end enough to melt it and apply around the picture, so I could stick the silver pipe cleaner down around the rickrack.  I could only do a couple of inches at a time, but eventually I got that task completed.  The silver touch makes the perfect holiday adornment.

The finished ornaments

Now all that stuff is ready to mail.  So if you set your mind to it, you can always accomplish the task.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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